NYT: Early in Mayoral Battle, Carriage Horses Are Drawn Into Race

Yep, the New York Times reports: "As a political issue, it has legs. Four legs."

A surprising flash point — animal rights — has erupted in the early weeks of the race for New York City mayor, complete with boldface endorsers, voluble protests, and a generously financed attack ad.

New York’s animals, from Central Park horses to rescue shelter dogs, have one of the city’s most clamorous lobbying groups, with thousands of motivated supporters and celebrity champions like Alec Baldwin, Lea Michele and Gloria Steinem.

And in a robust show of political muscle, a group of horse lovers is helping to back the first major advertising buy of the 2013 race: a $1 million attack on Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, who, despite being a dog lover, has been a longtime target of animal rights advocates because of her support for horse-drawn carriages in Central Park.

Ms. Quinn’s rivals in the Democratic primary have taken notice. Bill de Blasio, the public advocate, has promised that on his first day in City Hall, if elected, he would ban the famous carriages. He described the conditions of the horses, which have trotted through Central Park for decades, as “inhumane.”

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